Posted in Freebies and Special Offers, retirement

Retirement, Book, and Personal Updates

It’s been a crazy May. We celebrated my birthday and my husband’s, the one-year anniversary of the loss of my Stripey cat, had a garage sale at our house, and found a new home in South Carolina.

I wrote a blog post from Stripey’s point of view up on Rainbow Bridge about the year he’s been away from us. You can read it here:

Our garage sale was a lot of work, but we were able to get rid of many of our items that we hope found a good new home.

We recently came home from a second house-hunting trip to Charlotte, North Carolina, but also visited South Carolina where we found a home at the Edgewater Community that features a golf course, lake, clubhouses, a pool, and 70 activities a month arranged by an activity director. They are also opening a restaurant by the golf course. While we aren’t as close to stores and other places, the home prices are reasonable, and we’re an hour from Charlotte. My daughter will have an apartment upstairs, and we’ll finally have more than one bathroom and a dining room. We will also have a screened-in porch for the cats, an office for my husband, and a sitting room for me.




We’re still going to be on Long Island for a bit because they’re building our home which takes approximately 9-11 months. This is our lot.

My book news is that I’ve finished and submitted my third Buttercup Bend cozy mystery, The Case of the Llama Raising Librarian, to my publisher. I’m still waiting on the cover and an editor, but I hope the book will be published this summer.

For Memorial Day, there’s a 99-cent sale at Apple Books for three of my mysteries: Sea Scope, Memory Makers, and The Case of the Cat Crazy Lady, Buttercup Bend #1.

My June newsletter will be out before Memorial Day. New subscribers are eligible for special giveaways. You can subscribe at


Posted in retirement

Debbie’s Retirement Life Week 12: Day 120, 4/21/23 (Podcast and New Book)

This is my April blog post about my post-retirement adventures. It’s been four months since I retired from the library, but I’ve been working there part-time as a sub since February. I’m hoping to continue that until my move in the fall.

On St. Patrick’s Day in March, I went on an adventure with my daughter and a friend. We visited Jones Beach to look for seals. It was a chilly day but not extremely cold. I wore a seal hat I purchased for the occasion. During our walk over the sand, I tripped. I wasn’t badly hurt, but I was achy for a while afterwards. My daughter got to see the seals from a distance and took a few photos.

In march, I also viewed the Beyond Van Gogh exhibit with two friends. It featured an immersive viewing of the artist’s work.

At the end of March, I attended my co-worker’s retirement party, and in early April, I had my nails painted a pretty pink for Easter and spring.

We celebrated Easter at home. I helped my daughter cook a delicious ham meal and created an Easter graphic featuring our cats.

I’ve also entered the Cat Writers’Association’s annual contest with three entries for my cozy mystery, The Case of the Cat Crazy Lady and my two short stories, “Sneaky’s Supernatural Mystery” from my book, Sneaky’s Supernatural Mystery and Other Cobble Cove Stories and “First Christmas with Kittens” from the anthology, The Cat in the Christmas Tree and Other and True Stories of Feline Joy and Merry Mischief.

I finished writing my third Buttercup Bend cozy mystery, THE CASE OF THE LLAMA RAISING LIBRARIAN and hope to submit it to my publisher in May.

I also had a podcast interview by Donnie Lansdale about me, my books, and the wonderful Facebook group, The Writers Forum. You can listen to it here:

My cozy mystery, The Case of the Cat Crazy Lady, has been included in the new release, Sleuths and Surprises, a collection of cozies by two other authors, Janie Owens and Jessica Brimer.

In May, over Mother’s Day weekend, I’ll be having the first of possibly three garage sales at my home in Hicksville. If any of you are local, there will be many great items, some brand new, at very low prices.

Thanks for reading about my retirement adventures.  I’ll post another update in May.

Posted in retirement

Debbie’s Retirement Life (and St. Patrick’s Weekend special Book offers), Week 12: Day 85, 3/17/23

This is my March blog post about my post-retirement adventures. I’m also featuring two virtual events that I’ll be participating over St. Patrick’s Day weekend as well as a 99 cent offer for Kobo readers.

It’s been three months since I retired, but I’ve gone back to the library on a substitute librarian basis. I’ve been working some nights in Reference and will be working two Saturdays there this month. I’ll also be working a few days in the Children’s department in April.

On Friday, February 17, I had an echocardiogram because I’ve been having palpitations after exercising. This has been an off and on again condition that my doctor isn’t too concerned about, but he scheduled bloodwork and the echocardiogram to be safe. They both turned out normal. I had an eye exam on Friday, March 10. They gave me an ultrasound which I’d never had before. Everything seemed fine, and I have not changed my prescription. They have a retinalogist there now, too, so I was able to see him. He just thinks I need to be checked every six months because of my floaters and cataracts, although he said I don’t need any surgery at this point.

On Saturday. February 18, I went to Planting Fields Arboretum with my daughter and a friend for their Camelia Festival. We had a great time, and I painted a flower. Afterwards, we had lunch in Oyster Bay and took a chilly walk by the beach at Theodore Roosevelt Park. My daughter drove that day. It was her first long drive since getting her license a few weeks ago.

On Tuesday night, February 21, I read two excerpts from my Buttercup Bend series during a virtual Fastnacht Follies presented by my church. In this annual event, church members share their singing, dancing, and other talents. Check out the YouTube video below.

Besides my regular virtual workouts, I also attend webinars. An interesting one was held on Thursday, February 23 by Hillside Library with Northwell Health. The speakers were Executive Chef Manuel (Sonny) Rios, III and Juliet M. Monclova. It featured information about the importance of fiber in our diets and also included sample breakfasts, lunches, and dinners containing fiber-rich foods.

On Thursday, February 9, I attended a Long Island Library Resources (LILRC) webinar on Patrick Bringley’s book, All the Beauty in the World: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me. This was a very interesting talk given by a previous guard at the Met.

On March 8, I participated in a book discussion about The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki at my library’s book club. (Read my review here:

I also read Kristin Loesch’s new, The Last Russian Doll. (Review: I compare this book to the Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah that I read and reviewed last month.

Speaking about books, I’ve nearly finished the first draft of my next Buttercup Bend mystery, The Case of the Llama Raising Librarian. I hope to finish it and submit it to my agent in April. My non-fiction cat book, Memories and Meows, is now on audio. For a free code to receive the audible copy (and to hear the narrator’s cute cat voices), comment below with your email and if you are a U.S. or UK citizen.

I had a manicure and my nails done a shiny green for St. Patrick’s Day and spring.

I worked on Tuesday night, March 14, and monitored a library Zoom presentation about Female lighthouse keepers which I was interested in because of my mystery, Sea Scope, that featured information about lighthouses and lighthouse keepers. The presentation was given by Joann Tofu and included a Powerpoint presentation. She started off with information about various lighthouses and then discussed the female lighthouse keepers who, in most cases, took over after their husbands died. One of the most interesting woman was Ida Lewis, who I also featured in a note in my mystery. She was recognized for her bravery in saving many people whose boats had capsized in rough waters around Newport when she was a keeper there.

Yesterday, I attended the Hicks Nursery Garden Show with my daughter and her friend. This is an annual event. This year’s theme “A Novel Approach to Garden Design” features themed gardens based on book genres. I especially enjoyed the Mystery Garden for obvious reasons.

Today, I’ll be going on a Seal Walk at Jones Beach. More on that in my April retirement blog post.

Last, but not least, I have several book offers for St. Patrick’s Day weekend. My first Buttercup Bend cozy mystery, The Case of the Cat Crazy Lady, will be on sale for only 99 cents through Monday, March 20 on Kobo. You can get this fun book for less than a dollar at

Also, on St. Patrick’s day, I’m giving away a free copy of A Stone’s Throw, my first Cobble Cove cozy mystery on Roche’s Ravenous Readers Facebook group’s St. Patrick’s Party. To be eligible to win  my giveaway or any others, you need to join the group at:

I’ll also be giving away two books at the Tattered Page Book Club’s third anniversary event over St. Patrick’s Day weekend. I’ll be posting giveaways on Saturday, March 18 and Sunday, March 19. To participate, join the group at

Thanks for reading about my retirement adventures, Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and good luck if you enter my giveaways. I’ll post another update in April.

Posted in retirement

Debbie’s Retirement Life, Week 8 : Day 57, 2/17/23

It’s hard to believe it’s been two months since I retired. This is my February blog post about my post-retirement adventures.

Yesterday was sad because it would’ve been my mother’s 95th birthday. She’s been gone for five years. The temperatures here rose unseasonably into the high 60s. She would’ve loved it.

On a brighter note, my daughter passed her road test, and she’s been driving with me in my car to get more practice before driving on her own.

As I continue my decluttering project, I donated ten boxes of books to the Book Fairies, but I’ve also found several more boxes of books in my garage, and there are still more in my house.

On February 8, I participated in a lively discussion of The Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah at my library’s book club. (Read my review here: While historical fiction isn’t my favorite genre, I really enjoyed this book and recommend it.

I also read Megan Goldin’s forthcoming release, Dark Corners. (Review: I liked this book, too, but it wasn’t as good as Stay Awake, (Review:, the first book I read by this author.

Besides reading, I also attended virtual exercise classes and a music webinar on Motown given by Vinnie Bruno. I really enjoyed his presentation on the Bee Gees and found this one also good. The best part for me was when he discussed the Supremes and played some of their music. My cat, Hermione, however, was partial to Stevie Wonder.

Last night, I also attended Bruno’s presentation on Billy Joel. I was interested in it because Joel grew up in my hometown, I was born on his birthday, and my brothers knew him when they were young. Bruno’s presentation was very informative, as usual. The music was also great, although I preferred the earlier pieces he played.

Aso this month, I had the first of two deep cleanings with my periodontist. It was my first deep cleaning, so I was apprehensive about it, but it wasn’t bad at all. The worst part was the shots. I didn’t stay numb much longer afterwards and didn’t have any pain.

Last week, I went for bloodwork and am going today for an echocardiogram because I’ve been having dizziness and palpations. These aren’t brand new symptoms for me, and my doctor doesn’t think they’re anything serious. I’ve already received the blood test results. My cholesterol has actual gone down, which is good news, but I have some other areas outside the normal range. My doctor said they aren’t connected with my symptoms and should improve if I lose some of the weight I’ve gained. I plan to start doing that before my April physical when I’ll be retested.

I was approved as a substitute at my library, so I’ll be filling in, when needed, on a few nights and weekends.

I’m also making good progress on my third Buttercup Bend Cozy Mystery, The Case of the Llama Raising Librarian. I’m on Chapter 22, page 128. Below is another unedited excerpt from this book. In this scene, Cathy goes with Chris and his granddaughter Sheri to meet Lulu, the llama.

Chris parked the car by the house. Sheri didn’t wait for him to help her down. She excitedly ran ahead. Chris chuckled. “I like to see her so happy.” Cathy wondered at that comment if he meant Sheri wasn’t usually happy. Was the girl’s sadness caused by her grandmother’s recent death or the conflict Cathy had overheard between her parents?

Sheri was already at the llama pen’s gate. “Hold up, honey!” Chris exclaimed, as he and Cathy approached. Cathy noticed that there were smaller animals in the pen with the llamas. She recalled Mildred’s explanation of the differences between llamas and alpacas. As they caught up with Sheri, Chris said, “We keep the female alpacas and llamas together unless we’re breeding them, of course. You’ll notice the size difference. Sheri grew up with them, but when we have school visits, they frighten some kids by how large they are. Full-grown llamas can weigh up to 500 pounds.”

“Wow!” Cathy said. “Where’s Lulu? How can you tell them apart?”

“Lulu wears a pink ribbon.”

Sheri was hopping from one foot to the other as if ready to jump the fence. “Can we go in now, Grandpa?”

Chris opened the gate. “Go ahead. You might want to make a stop in the barn to get hay later if you want to feed her.”

“She’s munching on the grass,” Sheri pointed out. Cathy watched as the young girl ran to the llama wearing a pink ribbon. She counted five other llamas in the pen and nearly twice that of alpacas.

“You can pet one if you want. They’re quite gentle,” Chris said. Sheri was already petting Lulu. The llama regarded her with big brown eyes.

Cathy walked over to them. “This is Lulu,” Sheri introduced the llama. “Lulu, this is Miss Hastings. She’s going to be working at the farm with her mommy.”

Cathy laughed. “You can call me Cathy, Sheri. And, you, too, Lulu,” she added.

“Wanna pet her, Cathy? She’s very soft.”

“The alpacas are softer,” Chris said. “Their fiber is lighter and warmer than wool.”

Cathy found that interesting. “I don’t knit or crochet, but my grandmother does.”

Chris smiled. “You can pick up some skeins in the shop. I won’t charge ya.” He winked.

Cathy placed her hand on Lulu’s back and moved it down, as if stroking her kittens. The llama didn’t purr, but her eyes widened. “She’s friendly.”

“They all have different personalities,” Chris said. “Lulu is a sweetheart.”

“How long have you had her?”

Sheri answered. “She’s five, like me. Momma said Daddy brought her back from Peru the year I was born.”

“That’s right,” Chris said. “Lulu was just a baby or “crias,” as baby llamas are termed, when she came to the farm. Danielle was pregnant when she and Dylan visited Peru again. Danielle fell in love with Lulu, as she had Dylan, and insisted on bringing her back to Oaks Landing. It’s not easy to transport livestock back to the U.S. There are all sorts of red tape regulations, but Danielle wouldn’t go back unless Lulu came with her. She was raised here for her wool, unlike some of the South American llamas that are mostly raised as work and guard animals.”

As Sheri continued petting and talking with Lulu, Cathy stood by the gate with Chris. “Mildred said that Danielle met Dylan in Peru. Was she looking for llamas?”

Chris smiled. “Looking for llamas and found a husband. She met Dylan on her first trip there, but she’d just gone to visit some farms. According to her, it was love at first sight. Dylan handed the farm over to his brother and made plans to move to Oaks Landing.” 

“Sounds like a whirlwind romance to me.” Cathy lowered her voice, “but they don’t sound too happy now.”

“That happens with couples sometimes, but they love one another. I think there’s a lot of pressure with Betty’s condition, and Doris’ death didn’t help matters.”


I hope you enjoyed that excerpt form my work-in-progress. This weekend, I’m planning to go to the Camelia Festival at Planting Fields Arboretum, and Tuesday night, I’ll be reading some excerpts from my books at my church’s Fastnacht Zoom Follies that start at 7 pm. The Zoom link is found on the St. Stephen’s website, under Fastnacht Zoom Follies 2023.

Thanks for reading about my retirement adventures. I’ll post another update in March.

Posted in retirement

Debbie’s Retirement Life, Week 4: Day 29, 1/20/23

It’s hard to believe it’s been a month since I retired. This is the last weekly blog post about my post-retirement adventures, but I’ll continue writing them on a monthly basis. Last week ended on a fun note when I attended a Zoom lecture on one of my favorite musical groups, the Bee Gees. It was given by Vinnie Bruno, who also gives in-person and virtual lectures on the Beatles and other sixties and seventies music groups. The Bee Gees lecture was hosted by the Seaford Library and had over 80 attendees. Mr. Bruno’s presentation was both informative and enjoyable. He played songs from the early years of the group, as well as those from Saturday Night Fever and one by Andy Gibb.

Over the Martin Luther King weekend, I did more cleaning and also continued writing the next book in my Buttercup Bend series. I was challenged by my cat, Harry, when I cleaned my closet and by Hermione, when I sat at my computer to write.

On Monday, I went out to lunch with friends at Fanatico’s Italian Restaurant and had a delicious eggplant dish with a salad. Needless to say, I didn’t eat dinner that night.

My friends and I also exchanged late Christmas presents. One gave me an adorable cat tea mug and cat calendar. The other gave me hot chocolate balls and a lavender bath set.

On Tuesday, I spoke with Andrea Parent- Tibbetts from Clover Brooke Farm in Hyde Park via Zoom to research llamas and llama farms. She gave me some interesting information that I’ll be able to use in my forthcoming book, The Case of the Llama Raising Librarian. I’m up to Chapter 5 in the book and, although Cathy and Mildred have arrived at the llama farm where they are investigating a murder incognito, they haven’t yet met Lulu the Llama. The llama’s name was chosen by a reader of my newsletter who submitted it for a contest. Below is an excerpt from the first draft.

“I always wondered what the difference was between alpacas and llamas. Do you know?” Cathy had maneuvered around a red truck, and a barn came into view. It was large and sat next to a pen where she saw several llamas grazing.

“Of course I do. I’m a librarian, Cathy. The main differences are their size and ears. You might consider them cousins. Alpacas are smaller than llamas and have t-shaped ears, while llamas have banana-shaped ears. They’re both gentle and friendly animals.”

“Interesting.” Cathy pulled into a space between the house and the barn. The spots weren’t marked, and the lot wasn’t paved, but there were two cars parked there. A small blue Mazda and a silver station wagon.

Mildred checked her watch. “We’re a little early. We made great time. Maybe you want to walk around with me a bit before we go up to the house.”

“That’s a good idea. I’m eager to see the animals.” Cathy got out, and Mildred joined her. They headed for the barn and the llama pen. As they passed the barn, Cathy exclaimed, “Oh, my gosh! Look, Mildred. Cats! They look just like Harry and Hermione, only older, and the calico one doesn’t have Hermione’s white undercoat and paws.”

“They must be barn cats,” Mildred said. “They usually have them on farms to keep the mice in check. The calico is a tortoiseshell. Notice her brown markings.”

Cathy walked slowly toward the cats. She noticed a gray one behind them. The black cat came right up to her. She extended her hand, and the cat sniffed it. “You look just like my Harry,” she said. “I bet you enjoy living here?”

Mildred laughed. “I love how you talk to animals, Cathy. C’mon, let’s go see the llamas.”

The rest of the week wasn’t as pleasant or productive. My daughter and I both had dentist visits, and I’ll be going to the orthopedic today.

Next week, I’m planning to visit three local bookstores with an author friend.

Thanks for reading about my retirement adventures. I’ll post another in February.

Posted in retirement

Debbie’s Retirement Life, Week 3: Day 22, 1/13/23

During my third week of retirement, I continued decluttering and taking virtual exercise classes, began writing my next Buttercup Bend cozy mystery, had my nails done, went out with a friend to a Luminosity Light Festival, attended a real estate show, had my cats’ nails trimmed, and participated in a library book club discussion.

The virtual library exercise classes I’m taking are working out well. I purchased light, 1 pound weights and a small exercise ball that’s used in a few classes. I’m also getting an exercise mat. My cats were curious about these new items. I’d also gotten a new laundry hamper, and Harry enjoyed trying it out.

I was excited to start my third Buttercup Bend mystery, The Case of the Llama Raising Librarian. Along with Cathy Carter and the returning characters, it features a retired librarian. I wonder where I got that idea.

Last Friday, I had my nails done at Joy Nails, my local nail salon. I chose a glittery silver color that I thought would be nice for winter.

That night, I attended the Luminosity Festival at Eisenhower Park with my friend, Jenny. She took a cute photo of me by the Cheshire Cat in the Alice in Wonderland section of the festival.

On Saturday, I went to the Ideal Living Resort & Retirement Expo at the Huntington Hilton that featured 55+ communities in other states. It was somewhat disappointing because South Carolina and Virginia weren’t present as advertised, and, although representatives from North Carolina were there, they were mostly from Wilmington and the Coast.

On Sunday, the groomer came to give my cats well-needed mani pedis. Hermione suprised me by not even crying when she usually puts up a big fight. Harry, however, wasn’t his docile self. He cried the whole time.

On Wednesday, I went to my library for a book club discussion about The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray. I enjoyed the group and was also able to share my latest books and bookmarks with the members. I’m hoping they will choose one of my books for a future discussion. They’d discussed Sea Scope in the past and seemed interested in Time’s Relative that won the Cat Writers’ Association’s Muse Medallion award this year.

Later today, I’ll be viewing a virtual lecture on one of my past favorite music groups, the Bee Gees. This weekend or on Monday, I’m planning to go to lunch with two friends from church and exchange late Christmas presents. Next week, I’m also viewing a decluttering webinar that may be helpful to me as I continue that household project. I’m also seeing the chiropractor about my knee and possibly getting another cortisone injection. I’ve found that my knees aren’t bothering me as much during the exercises I’ve been doing, but I modify them if they do.

Thanks for reading about my retirement adventures. Next week, I might give you a sneak peek at the first chapter of the rough draft of my new book.

Posted in retirement

Debbie’s Retirement Life, Week 2: Day 15, 1/6/23

During my second week of retirement, I did some decluttering, started some virtual exercise classes, took an online writing webinar, and published my January newsletter.

I sent my January newsletter to subscribers the day before New Year’s Eve. It featured a Llama naming contest, survey contest, a list of my favorite 2022 books, and a few other features. Although only subscribers can enter the contests, you can read the January newsletter here:

New Year’s Eve was quiet. We toasted 2023 with sparkling cider and ate from a cheese and sausage tray. Even my cat, Hermione, got in the holiday mood.

I enjoyed the virtual exercise classes I took this week. I started with Stay Active, a Nassau Library System health share program on Wednesday, January 4. The class was a mix of aerobics and strength training. The instructor used weights in the second part of the class but said we didn’t have to use them and would still get some benefits. Since I’m not used to working with weights, I chose not to use them. The class wasn’t hard to follow, and I liked the oldies music. That night, I took a Body Sculpting class given by Seaford Library. The instructor, Kristen, was excellent. When she did floor work, I typed into the chat that I have difficulty getting on the floor because of my knees, and she showed me how to moderate those exercises sitting or standing by a chair. She also provided her email if any of the participants had questions for her. I thought that was very nice and look forward to the next class. Her music was also great.

On Thursday, the only virtual exercise class I took was Simply Stronger, given by my library. The instructor, Mindy Vasta, welcomed me and introduced me to the class as the retired librarian who used to organize the exercise programs. It was great to attend the class after having monitored it in the past. I was also happy to hear that a participant has been reading my books. Mindy does a very energetic class with good tunes and lots of strength training. She also used weights in the second half but was careful to instruct people in the proper safety protocols and said I could use weights when I felt I was ready and to start with light ones. Tomorrow, I’ll be taking Tai Chi with Linda Cafiero. I’ve known Linda a long time and look forward to her relaxing class.

Although I haven’t yet started writing the third book of my series as I’d planned, I viewed a Writers’ Digest University publishing webinar given by Jane Friedman that had been a Christmas gift from my husband. The webinar was informative, and I can view the replay and answers to all the questions typed in the chat.

Besides putting away all the Christmas decorations after New Year’s, I’ve also been organizing and decluttering each day. Again, I’m sorry that I don’t have a “before” shot of the coat rack, but it was really a mess before I straightened it out. I even found my husband’s lost hat.

I also decluttered my bedroom wardrobe, removing clothes that are out of season and straightening out the shelves. I also hang my cats’ long toys in there.

In between exercising, cleaning, and housework, I’ve been reading two books on my Kindle app: Cowboys and Chaos, the 3rd book of Elizabeth Pantley’s Magical Mystery Book Club cozy mystery series. Elizabeth is one of my favorite authors, and I featured one of the other books in this series as a 2022 favorite in my January newsletter. In The Magical Mystery Book Club stories members of a book club travel into the cozy mystery books they read. In Cowboys and Chaos, that’s the Wild West! To return to the present, they need to solve the mystery in the book, which is the disappearance of a saloon girl.

I’m also reading The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz. I’m reviewing this unpublished book through NetGalley. It can be preordered now and will be published on February 21. So far, I’m enjoying it. It’s a mix of horror and psychological fiction about a woman whose been invited by her favorite dark fiction author to attend a writing retreat at her reclusive, and rumored to be haunted, estate along with four other authors, one of whom used to be her best friend until an angry break up.

On Wednesday, I learned that my brother’s daughter gave birth to twin sons. Welcome, Jackson and Maxwell! Congratulations to my niece, her husband, and my brother and sister-in-law on their double blessings.

I didn’t go out much this week except for a walk on Wednesday when the temperatures reached over 60 degrees. I’m planning to have my nails done today and attend a light show with my friend this evening (more on that next week with photos, I promise). Thanks for reading about my retirement adventures.

Posted in retirement

Debbie’s Retirement Life: Week 1, Day 8: 12/30/22

This is the second entry in my retirement column. If you missed the first, you can still read it here.

My first week of retirement after Christmas was quiet. December 24 and 25 were very cold days. We had temperatures in the single digits on Christmas Eve. We didn’t go out because my husband wasn’t feeling well, although he didn’t have COVID or the flu., so it was just the three of us and our cats celebrating the holiday at home.

My daughter made a delicious lasagna that we’re still eating because she froze some. 

Since Tuesday, I’ve had a very stuffy nose but no temperature, and my home test is negative. I think it’s a head cold. I also didn’t go to lunch with my friends as I’d planned because one of them had COVID and is still recovering. We’re rescheduling for later in the month.

Retirement life is an adjustment. A gift I received for Christmas was a To Do Planner, that will be useful with my Google calendar and help me keep a schedule.



I’ve registered for several virtual library exercise classes hosted by my library and others. I’m hoping to start a new book after New Year’s, but I decided to take a week of rest and enjoy my new freedom. The only work I did these last seven days was organize my desk. I can finally see the top of it that was once covered in papers and other items. I’m sorry I didn’t get a before shot, but here’s the after shot.

I’m still working on my writing files and hope to finish cleaning them out and sorting them by next week. There were some interesting articles and letters in the folders, some going back to the 1990’s. I came across my original Cat Writers’ Association’s application letter from 1995. For privacy, I’ve omitted the return address.

Since I’m always searching for pens, I went through the mugs of pens on my desk and threw out the ones that didn’t work. Amazingly, most of them did. There were even cat and llama-shaped pens and a Nancy Pearl action figure to remind me of my library days. The llama pen will come in handy, inspiring me to write my next cozy mystery, The Case of the Llama Raising Librarian.”

While I was cleaning, my cat, Hermione, found the extra space on my desk and took it as an invitation to jump on it and knock down items.

With my extra time this week, I caught up on my book and magazine reading, took cat naps with my cats, and walked to the library to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I also spent some time adding jewelry to my new jewelry box that I purchased with my retirement gift card. It has lots of space for my earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets and looks very nice on my bureau.

Yesterday, my daughter and I made chocolate banana muffins and bread. She’s also on an organizing kick and showed me how to use the No Waste app to keep an inventory of items we have in the pantry and refrigerator, so we don’t buy duplicate groceries or forget to buy something we run out of.

Next week, I’ll be starting a few of the virtual exercise classes I registered for and updating the bio and information on my website and social media. I’ll also be sending out my January author newsletter that will contain character naming and survey contests for readers, as well as a list of my 12 favorite books this past year. To subscribe to Debbie’s Drafts, fill out the form at Have a great New Year!

Posted in retirement

Debbie’s Retirement Life: Day 1: 12/23/22

This is my first blog post about my retirement, which starts today. I’ll be posting updates weekly for a while and then probably on a monthly basis. Yesterday was my last day working full time as a librarian at the Hicksville Public Library. There was a party for me at 3 pm, the usual afternoon break time. My co-workers and two retirees, my previous director and fellow librarian, gathered downstairs in our Community Room that was decorated with balloons and a poster to celebrate my last day. There was also my favorite Black Forest cake, delicious pastries, a card signed by everyone, and several thoughtful gifts.

One question asked at my party was what I was going to do tomorrow. I said that I would wrap Christmas gifts, and I intend to do that. But the real question is, what am I going to do now that I’m retired? I already agreed to do some substitute work for the library as needed and have registered for several virtual library exercise programs. Here is the list I’ve composed of some things I hope to do now that I have the time. These are not necessarily in priority order:

  1. Take virtual library classes and programs and also in-person classes. (I’ve already registered for some and hope to attend the in-person book club in January)
  2. Take writing courses and attend webinars (I’m receiving a Christmas gift of a Writer’s Digest University online course about landing a book deal).
  3. Declutter my house to prepare for my family’s move out of state (I’ve already started this, but I’ll be doing it on a more regular basis. My desk area needs to be cleared asap).
  4. Update website and social media (It’s hard to keep these current when you work full time).
  5. Go through starred Email (I have a habit of starring email and never getting back to reading/dealing with it)
  6. Start Buttercup Bend #3 and plan my future writing (I have an ongoing list of writing projects).
  7. Make a household schedule (Now that I’m home, I’ll be able to do chores at more convenient times).
  8. Read (I have a huge digital TBR list on my Kindle app)
  9. Volunteer at church (I’ve been letting this slide for a long time, and I want to be more involved)
  10. Research ways to save and earn extra money. (This is important when you’re on a fixed income).
  11. Spend more time with friends (although I’m leaving, it won’t be for a while. I already have a lunch planned with some friends next week).
  12. Spend more time with my family, including my cats (This should be at the top of the list).

There are probably many other things I’ll find to do with my extra time, but I need time to relax and enjoy my retirement, too. It’s good to be busy, but it’s also good to take a break. I think I deserve one after 32 years of full-time work.

I look forward to sharing my retirement updates on this blog. If anyone reading this is retired and has some suggestions or experiences they’d like to share, please do.